The Grandmothers

Aama Bombo
Tamang, Nepal

Aama Bombo (Mother Shaman) was born into a poor family in Melong, Nepal, in the Tamang clan. Aama's father was a famous shaman. Tamang tradition prohibits women from practicing shamanism, something Aama always wished to become since the age of five.

Agnes Baker Pilgrim
Takelma Siletz Oregon, USA

Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim is a world-renowned spiritual leader and keeper of her people's Sacred Salmon Ceremony, which she revived after 150 years. Tears fill her eyes as Agnes explains the extraordinary nurturing power of the female salmon who sacrifices herself to fulfill her destiny. After a long and dangerous journey upstream to her place of birth, the salmon lays her eggs, then turns back downstream and begins to die...

Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance
Oglala Lakota, South Dakota

Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance, and her sister Rita, are Oglala Sioux and live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They are members of the Crazy Horse band, named after the great warrior, Crazy Horse.

Bernadette Rebienot
Omyene Gabon, Africa

Bernadette Rebienot was born in Libreville, Gabon. When she was very young her mother died, so her father and grandmother raised her. By age 5, Bernadette had her first vision, which soon came to pass. Her father, however, discouraged Bernadette from sharing these visions, so she kept them to herself.

Clara Shinobu Iura
Mapia Amazonia, Brazil

Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She was the daughter of Japanese immigrants who followed the traditional customs that were very repressive, especially towards women. Grandmother Clara didn't fit in. She asked questions and was very concerned with social injustices. At the time, she didn't believe in spiritual truths.

Mayan, Nicaragua

The sacred Mayan prophecies have stated, "A time will come when the eagle of the north shall meet with the condor of the south. At this time, all the tribes will join together and form a Gathering of Elders. In these gatherings the elders will share their traditions and medicines with each other. When the elders have gathered, they will then disburse to share this ancient knowledge and wisdom with all of humanity. This prophecy has come to pass."

Julieta Casimiro
Mazatec, Mexico

Grandmother Julieta Casimiro is a Mazatec elder and healer from Oaxaca, Mexico. For more than 40 years people around the world have come to Julieta for ceremony, healing, and life guidance. She works with people who have AIDS, cancer, emotional diseases, and psychological imbalance. "For the work to go well, I am always invoking God, she says. This way the people feel well and are also able to express what they are experiencing."

Maria Alice Campos Freire
Mapia, Amazonia Brazil

Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire was born in Brazil. She was named after her paternal grandmother whom many considered crazy because she had memory problems and seemed to live in another world. Maria Alice related to her grandmother because she also felt a greater connection with the Star Beings than life on Earth. "I couldn't fit into the structures and felt very far away from the reality here," she said.

Margaret Behan
Cheyenne, Arapaho Montana

Grandmother Margaret Behan is the fifth generation of the Sand Creek Massacre survivors. She was born into the Cheyenne Beaver Clan on her mother's side, and the Rabbit Lodge on her father's Cheyenne/Arapaho side. Margaret's parents were migrant workers, so she and her seven older siblings were raised by their grandparents. "My parents were not able to be there for me," Grandmother Margaret recalls...

Mona Polacca
Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa Arizona

Grandmother Mona Polacca believes that her origins are as important as her name, Polacca, which means 'the butterfly' in the Hopi language. In Hopi Iore, the butterfly symbolizes man's spiritual transformation. On her father's side, she is a Hopi-Tewa form the Sun and Tabacco Clans. On her mother's side, Grandmother Mona is Havasupai, the people of the Blue Green Water, form the Grand Canyon area in Arizona...

Rita Pitka Blumenstein
Yupik, Alaska

Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein is a Yupik elder and the first certified tribal doctor in Alaska. She is an artist, a teacher, speaker, and storyteller. Because her father passed away before she was born, she was raised by her mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. All were wise women elders of the Yupik people. "I grew up with the Grandmothers, walked with the Grandmother, and learned with the Grandmothers," she said of her family's powerful teachings.

Rita Long Visitory Holy Dance
Oglala Lakota, South Dakota

Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance, and her sister Beatrice, are Oglala Sioux and live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They are members of the Crazy Horse band, named after the great warrior, Crazy Horse.

Tsering Golma Gyaltong
Tibetan, Canada

In 1958, Tsering Dolma Gyaltong strapped two of her three children to her back and made a dangerous month-long journey through her beloved Tibetan mountains to India. The family was escaping the brutal Chinese Communist take-over of their country. Tsering's husband's work of pleading Tibet's case of the world made it too dangerous to stay in Tibet...

Text adapted from, courtesy of Gina Boltz. For more detailed biographies please visit

The Grandmothers Council:
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